Editing Theory

Started by ono, January 07, 2004, 04:34:07 PM

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Pubrick

Quote from: godardianCOuld it be? Is there someone else who shares my pet peeve about overbearing scores?
that is why Brazil sucked.
under the paving stones.

Jeremy Blackman

Quote from: nixI think editing might be my favorite part of the process.

Me too. And didn't Kubrick say that once? It's amazing how much you can be surprised when editing.

Editing is really when you decide how brave you're going to be, because you can see so many insane possibilities right in front of you, there for you to take. Editing on impulse can be liberating. Or disasterous.

Quote from: SoNowThenI find that I can never get into the level of really inter-relating images, to take myself to a new level, and when I try that, I of course start leaving the story behind, and dropping the sense factor, to which it just looks like pretentious beat-off stuff, and that never serves the story...

... or does it? Try making a documentary or mockumentary, entirely unscripted and spontaneous, without relying on dialogue or story. I think that's the best way to develop expressiveness and/or abstractness.

Quote from: godardianIs there someone else who shares my pet peeve about overbearing scores?

Classic example... LOTR: FOTR.

soixante

Another female editor of note is Marcia Lucas, George Lucas' ex-wife.  She co-edited Taxi Driver, which is an achievement of note.

One of the top books about editing is by director Karel Reisz, and there's also Eisenstein's work about film theory.

Many directors say that their favorite part of the filmmaking process is editing.  

I agree with Godardian about bombastic scores.  I was watching On The Waterfront recently, and I actually muted the sound during the final confrontation between Brando and Lee J. Cobb, as the background score was too overbearing.  Of course, sometimes bombastic symphonic scores are utterly appropriate -- such as in Star Wars or Gone With The Wind or anything by Bernard Herrman.  Kubrick has done well using already existing classical pieces.  It would be nice if other directors followed his lead.
Music is your best entertainment value.

Ghostboy

It's hard for me to say I love editing more than any other part of the filmmaking process, nut I guess I really do, since that's what I specialize in and feel that I'm the most talented in. I love having massive amounts of raw footage to work through and cut down to the barest essence of a scene. Walter Murch has said that he likes to edit without using the script, to just let the movie develop on its own; that's what I try to do as well. I like it when a director is open to the idea of rewriting something in the editing room.

The aforementioend 'The Limey' is the first movie that always comes to my mind when I think of great editing; its heavily stylistic, but not in a show-offy way. Every cut is motivated by the story. Another one of my favorites is Graeme Clifford's work on 'Don't Look Now,' which is just fantastic. The  love scene usually garners the most attention, but the entire thing is masterfully cut. And '21 Grams' is worth mentioning too -- it seems arbitrarily thrown together, but I think there was probably a great deal of though in every scene change and chronology break (although I could be completely wrong and the editing was accomplished by rearranging the order with a blindfold on).

(I will continue this conversation later...for now, I've gotta crash)

mutinyco

There is another medium that uses editing. In fact several. Most writing is usually edited. As well, most digitally recorded and mixed music is built out of editing.

Movies are nothing but dirty little whores.
"I believe in this, and it's been tested by research: he who fucks nuns will later join the church."

-St. Joe

ono

Quote from: mutinycoThere is another medium that uses editing. In fact several. Most writing is usually edited. As well, most digitally recorded and mixed music is built out of editing.

Movies are nothing but dirty little whores.
Realize, though, that film's editing technique is unique because it involves juxtaposition of pictures and sound.  It can play with time and space, which is what sets it apart.  Something writing and audio alone can't do.

cron

QuoteThere is another medium that uses editing. In fact several. Most writing is usually edited. As well, most digitally recorded and mixed music is built out of editing.

Movies are nothing but dirty little whores.


i think he's talking about this guy:



and if you're curious about how he did what he did :

http://web.ukonline.co.uk/gary.leeming/burroughs/cutup_machine.htm
context, context, context.

(kelvin)

Didn't he shoot his wife when he was on heroin?

mutinyco

He shot her. I'm not sure he was on junk when he did it though. Might've been drunk.
"I believe in this, and it's been tested by research: he who fucks nuns will later join the church."

-St. Joe

kotte

I've been struggling with the editing of The Tortellini Suicide for quite some time now, especially with one cut (or two, really). You have them here...



The problem here is one of continuity, you could say. In shot no. 1 Viggo raises his glass, in shot no. 2 Gino enters and in shot no. 3 we're back on Viggo. In this particular sequence I've focused on the glass. What I have now is the height of the glass perfectly matched. But the loss is in Gino's entrance. To keep it matched I have to cut from no. back to 1 a bit too quickly.

I've started reading Walter Murch's 'In The Blink Of An Eye' in which he ranks the order of reasons where to cut. It goes like this.

1. Emotion
2. Story
3. Rhythm
4. Eye-trace
5. Two-dimensional plane of screen (180 degree rule, I assume)
6. Three-dimensional space of screen

What he says is that you should always work from the top down. Sacrifice Story before Emotion, Rhythm before Story, Eye-trace before Rhythm etc etc. What I've done here is the opposite of what he believes. I'm sacrificing Rhythm and Emotion before Three-dimensional space of screen (and no. 5. Let's face it, I'm kinda breaking the 1800 rulke with the cut's I'm talking about).
So if I go Murch's way there will be a noticeable error. I don't know how noticeable. I mean I see it everytime but I'm so wrapped up in the film.

I realize I'm kinda answering my own question here...

But how do you feel about all of this??

matt35mm

Is there anything else you could cut to?  Like maybe a close up of Gino's entrance?

Sometimes restructuring the scene a little works.

I don't really know what to think because I don't exactly know what you have to work with.  Continuity errors are gotten away with all the time, so that is the least important (as Murch said), unless it's truly jarring.  Unless those are the only 3 shots you have for those cuts, I would try messing around with it in every way until you find something that works.  It has to "feel" right, though.  I think that's part of what Murch is saying--don't sacrifice what feels right just to be a slave to continuity.

kotte

Yeah, I agree...I don't wanna be a slave :)

The thing is, I don't know how bad the error is since I've been looking at these shots for almost 6 months now.

And I wish I had something else to cut to. I've done everything I can with what I have. So now I'm down to two options basically: Continuity or Rhythm?

socketlevel

Quote from: ┬ębradi was talking w/ someone the other day about the surprising abundance of female editors. is it me or are they're a lot of them? and most of them are good!

[List of movies omitted]

well, they're not all winners, but i think lawrence of arabia takes the cake. so what i'm trying to get at here is that chicks make good editors, and if i ever get to make a movie i'm going to get a lady to edit it.

sadly, the reason for this is that back in the early days of the studios the editor's job was marginalized.  it was considered much like a factory position, like a seamstress or car assembler (actually a lot of positions were like this, i.e. screenwriters).  almost sweatshop styles.  Since it was seen as shit work they didn't mind giving it up to women.  they would have all the cuts predetermined and the editor would cut on certain frames and assemble the strip.  good thing though, when it became a creative medium, women held onto this position predominantly.  still though, you look at the early percentage of women editors and you'll see it's much higher than todays figures.

-sl-

[edit] sorry overlooked picolas' post which pretty much says the same thing.
the one last hit that spent you...

kotte

Just wanted to add...

Read Murch's 'In The Blink Of An Eye'!
It's great.Not only is it a book about editing from the master of the craft but close to a philosophical journey written by an old wise man. You need to read his theories about blinking. Awesome

I hope more people have comments or advice on my first post.

cowboykurtis

Quote from: wantautopia?Another person (not sure who; I'm hoping someone will refresh my memory) theorized that it's best to start a scene after it's begun, and end it before the natural finish.


i want to say that this is a technique reciteded by screenwriters not editors -- and sadly enough, I believe it is robert mckee who has preached this through and through.
...your excuses are your own...